Couldn't be said more clearly. The former US secretary of defense and CIA director, Leon Panetta, admitted openly that “We are engaged in a conflict here. It's a proxy war with Russia, whether we say so or not ...”. Referring to the Ukrainian forces, the US imperialist warhawk claimed that "These are good fighters, they are small-unit operations, they are working well ...". The description "small-unit operations" fits to proxy forces - mercenaries, rather than an organized national army.
As we mentioned in our previous article, for eight years, the NATO criminals and the "free" and "democratic" West, were provoking Russia by arming and training the far-right and neo-nazi militia groups who also infiltrated in the Ukrainian army and operate in East Ukraine against Russian populations. Which is something similar with what happened in the long-suffering Syria by the US proxy war against Assad. Only there, the US imperialists armed and trained some so-called "moderate rebels", with most of the arms ending in the hands of ISIS islamofascists who spread chaos and destruction.
Panetta's statements is essentially an official admission by the US side that this is the case.
This also explains why the Russians are so obsessed with Mariupol, which appears that it suffered most from the war in Ukraine so far. It seems that they won't retreat from their demand to Ukraine to surrender the besieged city. Not only because of its critical strategic importance, but mostly because it's the base of the Azov Battalion, which is essentially the major US proxy nazi force in the Ukrainian soil.
Indeed: [emphasis added]
In March 2015 Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced that the Azov Regiment would be among the first units to be trained by United States Army troops in their Operation Fearless Guardian training mission. US training however was withdrawn on 12 June 2015, as the US House of Representatives passed an amendment blocking any aid (including arms and training) to the battalion due to its neo-Nazi background. However, the amendment was later removed in November 2015, with The Nation reporting that the "House Defense Appropriations Committee came under pressure from the Pentagon to remove the Conyers-Yoho amendment from the text of the bill."
Azov published a media release on its website on 20 November 2017 stating that it had met with a foreign delegation of officers from the United States Armed Forces and Canadian Armed Forces on 16 November. Writing for Jacobin, Branko Marcetic says that members of Azov have been pictured meeting with U.S. military and NATO officials.
This is a particularly revealing information because it proves beyond doubt that the US imperialist apparatus was very well aware of the nazi nature of the Azov Battalion. And did everything to overcome any political actions that were aiming to block any aid to its members.
Recall that new information - coming from the elite section of the US think tank apparatus - proved that the US imperialists wanted to drag Russia into a war with Ukraine since at least 2019.
Everything we wrote back in 2014 turns out to be right:
What was left to do, for the moment, is to challenge Putin in order to drag Russia in an endless attrition war in East Ukraine and this explains to a degree Putin's hesitation to act like he did in Crimea. Against Russian army, of course, the West will not risk to put an organized military force, but only teams of mercenaries of private armies, as already did. It is certain, however, that, despite that the global economic oligarchy has lost valuable time because of its wrong moves, it will not give up its plans for Russia easily ...
Mapping proxy wars of the last decades around the globe we also wrote back in 2015 that the Ukraine conflict is a proxy war against Russia by the West, next to the Russian borders. Behind the color revolutions, one can always find US financed organizations. The Western allies would not dare to face directly the Russian army. In the Ukraine conflict one could find private armies of mercenaries. The most stupid action by the Western puppets was to support neo-nazis against the local Russian populations. This was something that exposed their real intention, which is to encircle Russia through puppet regimes who would permit the Western military presence in their territories.
By aiding the nazis in Ukraine, the US and the West generally, lost their last remnants of their alleged "superiority" on matters related with democracy, human rights, or, international law. West's moral bankruptcy and cultural decline are now irreversible and mark the beginning of the end of its global domination.